Padmanabhapuram Palace is a beautiful historical wooden Palace situated in the Padmanabhapuram town. This Palace was once the seat of the rulers of Travancore. The Palace is more than 400 years old and is located inside the granite fort with an area of 187 acres. The Palace has an area of seven acres. The Palace is administered by the Archaeological Department of Government of Kerala. This is one of the chief attractions of Tamil Nadu. Padmanabhapuram Palace is one among the top ten Palaces in the world.
Padmanabhapuram Palace History
From A.D. 1550 to the end of the 18th century, Padmanabhapuram was the capital of the former Travancore state which was later shifted to Trivandrum. The Fort comprises 186 acres of land including the adjoining Udayagiri Fort. As per the inscriptions found, the Palace was built in 1601 by Ravipillai Ravivarma Kulasekhara Perumal. The palace has been constructed before the fort was raised.
According to historians, Father Paolino Bartholomeo, who wrote the book “A Voyage to the East Indies”, was a guest at this palace for 16 days from September 23, 1783, and has praised the splendor of this Palace.
The palace is almost 400 years old and still does not lose its majesty and is the masterpiece of Indigenous Kerala Architecture.
Every part of the palace with the 27 buildings and 129 rooms in 3.5 acres is amazing. It surprises us as the palace has been built with artistic and sturdy at the time when there was no scientific development.The wooden work of the palace is world famous.
Architecture of Padmanabhapuram Palace
Oottupurai (Dining Hall)
The dining Hall in Palace is called as Oottupurai and is very magnificent. Its length is 78 m, and width is 6 m. Two thousand people can eat at the same time here. Its tent is set up with two roofs. It is said that the King fed 2000 poor people every day and hence he was called as “Dharmaraja”.
Upparigai Maaligai (Central Mansion)
This is located in the centre of the palace complex. This is a four storeyed building in which, royal treasures was in the ground floor, King’s bedroom at the first floor, King’s study room at the second floor and the top floor served as the worship place of the royals. The walls of here are covered with 18th century murals depicting pictures from the puranas. In the King’s room, there is a wooden cot made from wood of 64 different types of herbal and medicinal wooden barks. This wooden cot was presented to the Maharaja Marthanda Varma by the Dutch East India Company in 1750.
The Navarathri Mandapa / Performance Hall (Nataksala)
This is constructed by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, who reigned in Travancore from 1829 to 1846. This hall is 66 feet long and 27 feet wide. This is the place for Bharatha Natya dance and music recitals performances in the royal presence.
Council Chamber (Manthrasala)
This is one of the most beautiful part of the Palace. The floor of this chamber is with excellent shining finish and reflects like a mirror. This floor is made up of unique combination of egg white, coconut, charcoal, jaggery, lime etc. The windows of this room are covered with mica to keep away heat and dust. This is the place where the King holds discussions with the ministers.
Southern Palace (Thekke Kottaram)
This is also one of the oldest constructions in the palace complex around 400 years old. Now there is an archaeological museum in the first courtyard of the palace. There is a display of wide array of antiquities, coins, ornaments, sculptures, inscription copper plates etc.
Queen Mother’s Palace (Thai kottaram)
It is believed that this is the oldest part of the Palace built in A.D. 1550. Built in Kerala style of architecture, there is an inner courtyard which is called as “Nalukettu”. There is a small chamber called as ekantha mandapam. There is also a pillar with beautiful floral designs made of a single jackfruit wood. The wooden ceiling is carved with 90 different floral designs.
There is a secret passage that was built in case of emergency or attack to take the royals to a palace 2kms away. Presently it is closed.
The clock tower is more than 300 years old and the clock in this tower still show time.
From Thuckalay: 2 kms
From Nagercoil: 17 kms
From Trivandrum: 50 kms
From Tirunelveli: 97 kms
Padmanabhapuram Palace Visiting Hours:
9.00 A.M to 5.00 P.M
Monday, National Holidays
04651 – 250255
2. Dinamani Thagaval Kalangiyum, 2008